Written answers

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Eligibility

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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113. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if supplementary welfare can be paid to a person (details supplied); if weekly payments can be put in place on humanitarian grounds given the health of the person; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [59763/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme is the safety net within the overall social welfare system in that it provides assistance to eligible people in the State whose means are insufficient to meet their needs and those of their dependents. Supports provided under the SWA scheme can consist of a basic weekly payment, a weekly or monthly supplement in respect of certain expenses, as well as single exceptional needs payments (ENPs) and urgent needs payments (UNPs).

The basic supplementary welfare allowance provides immediate assistance for those in need who are awaiting the outcome of a claim or an appeal for a primary social welfare payment or do not qualify for payment under other State schemes. This assistance is subject to the person having the right to reside and satisfying the Habitual Residence Condition (HRC). Under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, my Department may make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income. The ENP scheme is demand-led and payments are made at the discretion of the officers administering the scheme, taking into account the requirements of the legislation and all the relevant circumstances of the case in order to ensure that the payments target those most in need of assistance. ENPs are not subject to the HRC.

The person concerned made an application for SWA on 22/2/2021 and was paid an ENP pending a decision on this application. As stated above, in order to qualify for SWA, a person must, inter alia, satisfy the requirement to be habitually resident in the State. The person concerned failed to produce documentation requested by the Designated Officer, including any evidence of the right to reside in the State. As a result, a letter was issued on 18/3/2021 to inform the person concerned that the application was disallowed, and of the right to seek a review or appeal of this decision. It has been confirmed that there is currently a deportation order active in relation to this person.

Another ENP was applied for on 14/07/2021 and this was paid on 15/07/2021. My Department will consider whether a further ENP on a once off basis may be appropriate in the circumstances.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.


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